During the 2016/17 campaign, Andrea Belotti was one of the most in-demand forwards in Europe.
Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus, Milan, Liverpool, Arsenal and Real Madrid all reportedly wanted the Torino hotshot after he hit 26 Serie A goals. However, a move failed to materialise and he remained at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.
Having failed to capitalise on his good form, interest in the Italy international waned. Over the next two seasons, Belotti managed just 25 league goals.
At face value, an average of 13 per season for a mid-table team isn’t bad. But it represented a substantial drop-off from the 26 he managed during that single, unforgettable campaign.
One way to balance that out, however, is by highlighting the fact Belotti has hit double figures for four consecutive seasons. And prior to Serie A being suspended, the 26-year-old was on nine goals. He might not be prolific but he is a reliable goal threat.
It’s because of this consistency that teams are still looking to sign Il Gallo (The Rooster) despite the drop-off in his output. According to Tuttosport, a host of clubs are weighing up a move for Belotti. Milan, Internazionale, Roma, Napoli and Everton are all putting together packages in an attempt to entice him away from Torino.
Belotti’s release clause is, reportedly, a mammoth €100million. But Torino could take the pragmatic decision to sell him for less and use the money to freshen up their struggling squad.
Selling your goalscorer doesn’t seem like the most progressive move but using this opportunity to move away from being a ‘one-man team’ is beneficial. Such a deal could suit Il Toro and the player, who has seen his career stagnate a little in recent seasons.
Statistically, Belotti is a quirk. Over the past two seasons, he’s averaged 0.24 open-play goals (per 90) in Serie A. He’s underperforming his expected goals average of 0.30. The reason for this? His finishing can be a little erratic. His post-shot expected goals average is 0.25 which shows he is devaluing his efforts by 0.05.
It may not seem like much but it’s a difference of two goals over a season. Two potential match-winners. Six potential points dropped. All because your No.9 isn’t clinical enough.
Another worrying stat is his shots per 90. He’s averaging more than three yet his expected goals total is just 0.3. For context, Harry Kane has had 2.83 shots per 90 this season and his open-play expected goals average is 0.35. The England captain takes fewer shots but the ones he does get off are more dangerous.
For Belotti to pose a threat, an attacking system needs to be built around him and he needs plenty of service. Will he get that at Everton?
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been the main man for the Blues this season. Everton’s No.9 is averaging just 3.01 shots per 90 but his open-play goal return stands at 0.61 and his open-play expected goals average is 0.64. Belotti would need more than six shots to get close to Calvert-Lewin’s averages.
The Torino forward’s shot placement map (above) explains a lot. Top forwards hit the corners with their efforts. Belotti has had 28 shots on target down the middle. The same number as to his right and ten fewer than to the left. If he worked on his finishing, he’d be a lot more of a goal threat.
Carlo Ancelotti has improved Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison since his appointment at Goodison Park. He could get Belotti’s career back on track but Everton don’t need to take such a gamble on a player, not when they have two of the best young forwards in the Premier League.
However, if Belotti is available for a knockdown price, seeing how he develops under the Italian tactician would be an intriguing project for all involved. If he can get close to the form he produced during the 2016/17 campaign, he’d be a revelation in the English top flight.